2018-03-27 - Cleansing Fire, Holy Ground
After doing some cooking, I was washing off a couple of cast-iron pans. Since the days of my first job, I learned that heat combined with a cleaning agent can remove whatever remnants of foods remaining on the surfaces more quickly and easily than soaking and doing the same job, when it’s had time to cool off. I’ve taken advantage of this technique originally introduced to me more in the light of cooking in dinner rush, and used it to relieve myself of extended handwashing time and carpal tunnel flare-ups. Seeing the soap bubble up was reminiscent of a fuse being lit, as I squirted it on the surface of the pan. And then the steam rising from it, as I dropped some water inside of it for cleaning and rinsing, was actually captivating - and reminded me of how God cleanses our hearts. I thought of how God appeared to Moses in spirit, as fire in the burning bush. How he wants to cleanse us from things that put distance between us and him. He’s the heat of the still warm cast-iron pan, and the soap that combined with water turns our iniquity into the steam that rises and disappears. What a glorious gift. And all we have to do is ask humbly for his mercy, and have hearts willing to receive his truth, and we can be spiritually cleansed. It is not that we will never need forgiveness again, but after knowing the truth of God’s word and how it is our source of healing, it becomes a natural part of our thinking (as we ask for wisdom of his spirit) to release any detrimental thoughts, actions, or directions we might find ourselves on as soon as possible, so we can truly feel free. And when we are truly free, we are more able to be a real living example of what joy means. When people we come into contact with see and feel joy being around it, they want to know how and why so they, too, can experience it. It can also be another person who believes in God’s truth and still needs a shot of joy on a tough day, or even a good day. One of my favorite books called Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art (page 50 of the 1980 edition) by: Madeleine L’Engle shares the thought this way with an interaction she had with a student from Zimbabwe. “I am a good Seventh Day Adventist, but you have shown me the face of God.” She then expounded a bit. “For that moment, at least, all our doors and windows were wide open; we were not carefully shutting out God’s purifying light in order to feel safe and secure; we were bathed in the same light that burned and yet did not consume the bush. We walked on holy ground.” I cannot imagine a better place to walk.
“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:1-3; 5-6; v12 NIV)
All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted